Driven by a love for oversized vehicles, Americans bought the most cars ever last year

America still loves its SUVs.
America still loves its SUVs.
Image: GM1E472093U02
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A United States where Uber, ride-sharing and electric cars rule the roads is still a distant dream, suggest the latest car sales data.

2015 was a record year for the industry, driven by demand for large, all-American vehicles like pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. Total US car sales last year reached 17.5 million, car makers said on Jan. 5, beating the previous record of 17.4 million in 2000.

December was a particularly good month, with sales at 1.64 million, a 9% jump from last year. General Motors, the country’s largest carmaker, was boosted by sales of the Chevrolet Colorado pickup and the Buick Encore SUV, the New York Times reports.

It’s a huge turnaround for the industry, which had to be bailed out by taxpayer money less than a decade ago. In 2009, yearly car sales were as low as 10.4 million. The recent boom has been fueled by several factors, including better wages and a stronger job market, cheaper gas, good deals and available credit.

2016 is also looking good, with analysts projecting sales of 17.8 million.

Volkswagen was the notable exception in this windfall year for automakers. Dragged down partially by a massive fuel emissions scandal, the company’s US sales fell by 5% in 2015.